How to Choose The Most Reliable Motorcycles
Should You Trade in Your Harley For One of These Instead?
The “vroom - woosh - brrroooaaarrrr” of the open road… it’s an attractive experience. Though that road can become less seductive if your bike starts puffing, breaking down, and leaving you on the side of the road in Nowhere Land.
Not exactly the best way to spend an afternoon (this is especially true if you happen to be riding around in a hot desert like Arizona). What should a rider do? What should YOU do?
Purchase a bike that is easy to maintain and good for safety. It can be pretty hard to decide which bike is the best. Luckily, this article addresses which ones are the best.
If you are riding around on a Harley, it might be time to set that bike out to roost and pick one of the suggested bikes below instead. Harley motorbikes are well-loved by their owners, so it may be a bit painful for you to consider they might not be the best for safety (or maintenance!).
If you want to go the distance, past the horizons, let the wind whip through your hair on the safest, most durable, and affordable (for maintenance) bike - find out which one that is!
Which Motorcycles Are the Most Reliable?
Which motorcycles are the most reliable that will give you the most pleasure with minimal work? You might be surprised to hear, but Consumer Reports has rated Japanese bikes more favorably than classic Harleys and BMWs.
Japanese motorcycle companies like Yamaha, Kawasaki, and Honda all stand under much better lights than their Western counterparts. This information comes from motorcycle reliability ratings from a survey carried out by the Consumer Reports National Research.
These bikes tend to have fewer problems. While their name recognition might not give you the same emotional stir, when you’re on the road you’ll appreciate being on one of these babies instead.
If you’re still brand new to riding motorcycles, you might be wondering what kind of maintenance you have to do in the first place? Good question!
How to Maintain Your Bike in 5 Simple Ways:
Some of the most common problems motorcycles face, according to professional mechanics, are things that should never happen in the first place. With proper maintenance, you can skip the hassle of a failing bike. This is valuable advice from people who work on these rigs day in and day out.
These issues include drive belts, air filters with holes in them from rocks on the road, or brake pads are worn down to the metal from lack of care. While minor, they can cost you a pretty penny if you don’t regularly change out brake pads and filters. Even worse, it could lead to serious damage if left unchecked for too long.
Plus, you’re going feel a bit embarrassed if you go to a pro-bike mechanic and he sees you ruined a good bike because you didn’t change out your brake pads! That mechanic will be shaking his head at you.
So what CAN you do?
Tip #1 - Keep It in Tip Top Shape
There are several things you can do to keep your motorbike, whether it’s a Harley or Yamaha, in tip top shape. A lot of what you can do is similar to what you do to maintain a normal car. Things like changing out the oil when it’s getting low or over a certain mileage to make sure there is good clean oil running through your engine.
You can also change out your brake fluid. Look into aligning your wheels, steering heads, and drive belts as well. Make a habit of cleaning out air filters or changing them completely before they get destroyed with holes and cause serious damage to your bike.
Tip #2 - Check Tires Regularly
Use a pressure gauge to check your tires on a regular basis. It doesn’t take much time to put in and gives you a readout on how well your tires are doing. This is something you can do every day before you hop on your bike and start riding. It’s easy too!.
Unlike a car, popping a tire while speeding down the road on your bike cause serious injury. You definitely want to be on top of this. Most professional mechanics suggest checking the tires once a week. They have reported that low air pressure in motorcycle tires is a consistent problem.
If your motorbike is having issues with steering, leaning, or handling it in general, there is a good chance your tires have low pressure and need to be topped off.
Tip #3 - Check the Brakes
Inspecting brakes on a routine schedule is a no-brainer. This needs to happen regularly. After all, these are the critical components of your bike that actually STOPS you and can save you from nasty wrecks and injuries IF they are working.
Brake pads, when worn down to the metal, make a terrible screeching sound. Many people keep riding on despite this. Don’t be like them.
Change out your pads well before they start grinding down to the metal. Brake pads are cheap to change out around $50 for new ones (if you do it yourself).
Don’t end up spending more because you waited until it was ground down to the metal. If you do, you’ll end up having to change out the rotors too and likely a bunch of other stuff that makes your bill skyrocket.
You have been warned.
Tip #4 - Inspect Your Bike Often
As much fun as motorbikes are, they need more inspection than a car because they are more dangerous. Keep that in mind every time you are out on the open road. While bikes are fun, they also require more responsibility.
Before any long distance traveling, check out your bike. One of the big things you want to look out for are leaks, which can leave you stranded on the side of the road. If you are storing your bike in a dark garage, it might be worthwhile to buy a bright yellow “duck pond” to put underneath the bike. These help you spot leaks immediately.
Most maintenance is simple stuff. Do the lights work? Is everything in proper order? There should be nothing that stands out to you. Obviously, if you’re not a mechanic, it might be worth it to bring your bike in for a quarterly check at a shop.
Tip #5 - Store it Properly
Many people that drive motorcycles are living in places where it snows. That means for a large portion of the year, you can’t even ride it! Most people store their bikes under a cover and forget about them.
Don’t leave your bike outside. Put it in your garage out of the elements with the tires off the ground to prevent cracking. A lot of issues that bikes get come from them sitting idle and uncared for. Avoid problems by storing your bike properly during off-season months.
You also want to use a fuel stabilizer. The fuel stabilizer will keep your bike from forming unwanted clogging in the filters, carburetors, fuel injectors, and pumps.
Now since you got the maintenance out of the way, there is still one question left to ask.
Which Motorcycle is Right For You?
Everyone is going to have different tastes and preferences. Although Japanese motorbikes like a Honda or Yamaha will last longer than a Harley or a BMW bike with the same maintenance, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t choose a Harley or BMW.
At the end of the day, riding a motorcycle is all about the pleasure and thrill of the ride. Could you squeeze out less maintenance costs and less hassles with a Harley? With proper maintenance, absolutely!
If you get the same enjoyment and thrill from riding a safer more durable bike, then you should go that route. However, if you do preventative maintenance, it won’t matter (much) which bike you choose.
As with so much in life, the key to success is all about preparation. Or in this case, proactive maintenance.
Enjoy the road!